Brewers: Underappreciated Players from Each of the Last 4 Playoff Teams

Matt Carroll
ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 19: Jhoulys Chacin #45 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after getting the third out of the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 19, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 19: Jhoulys Chacin #45 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after getting the third out of the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 19, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images) /
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As the Milwaukee Brewers have reached the playoffs for a franchise best four seasons in a row, a huge amount of players have come and gone from the roster. For fans, some have become favorites while others have drawn their scorn.

Somewhere in the middle of that spectrum comes your underappreciated players. They can often be described as players who put up generally solid production, but don’t necessarily rise to the level of All-Star. Perhaps they lie somewhere in the mediocre to pretty good range.

But good teams need those types of players to be successful and the Brewers had their share during this current run of postseason appearances. Let’s take some time to properly appreciate some of these lesser heralded guys for their many different reasons.

Here is one underappreciated player from each of the last four Brewers playoff teams.

2018 – RHP Jhoulys Chacin

It’s hard to say that a team’s eventual No. 1 pitcher could be considered underappreciated. But when you think back on the 2018 Brewers team, how many players come to mind before you get to Jhoulys Chacin? For most, it’s probably quite a few.

2018 was Chacin’s first of two seasons in Milwaukee. That year, he put together 35 starts for the Crew, compiling a 3.50 ERA and a career best 1.163 WHIP. The Brewers were 23-12 during the regular season in games he started.

He also came through huge in one of the team’s biggest moments that season: game 163 on the road against the Chicago Cubs. That day, he gave up just a run on a hit and two walks over 5 2/3 innings, leading the Brewers to a win and an NL Central title, their first since 2011.

2019 – LHP Alex Claudio

By no means was lefty reliever Alex Claudio perfect for Milwaukee in 2019. The same could be said of plenty of the relievers in the Milwaukee bullpen that season, though it was Claudio that more often caught Brewers fans’ ire.

Many of his numbers were pedestrian. Claudio had a middle-of-the-road 4.06 ERA and an ok 1.306 WHIP. What he was, however, was reliable, as was evidenced by the sheer amount of appearances he made that season.

Claudio pitched in 83 games for the Crew in 2019. That was not only the most in the majors that year, it’s also tied for the most appearances a pitcher has ever made in a season in Brewers franchise history. Sometimes one needs to appreciate that the best ability is often availability.

2020 – 1B/3B Jedd Gyorko

The Brewers are in the midst of a franchise best four straight postseason appearances, but that almost didn’t happen during a 29-31 season in 2020 that saw them just barely snag a spot due to expanded playoffs. A barely functioning offense would have been to blame had they not made it in.

That’s why I feel it can’t be appreciated enough what corner infielder Jedd Gyorko brought to the table in 2020. On offense, his nine homers during the shortened season ranked third on the club, his .248 average and .333 OBP ranked second (among qualified batters), and his .504 slugging and .838 OPS ranked first.

Possibly even more important was what he did for the team defensively, namely take over at first base. Gyorko had only played 35 games there in his career prior to 2020. But with the position needing some midseason stability, he stepped in and ended up playing 30 of his 43 games that year at first, at times looking awfully impressive for someone with such little experience there.

2021 – LHP Brent Suter

When the Brewers bullpen was at its best in 2021, it was a force to be reckoned. You had a three-headed monster at the back of the pen in Josh Hader, Devin Williams, and Brad Boxberger. Hunter Strickland performed great as a midseason addition, as did Jake Cousins in his first taste of the big leagues.

With all that, it can be easy to forget what Brent Suter brought to the team. Fans on social media often seemed to feel that he had taken a step back from 2020. And while his walks were up (2.9 BB/9 up from 1.4), which also brought his WHIP up (1.105 to 1.309), his ERA was actually down (3.13 to 3.07) for the second lowest mark of his career.

And with all the talk about Milwaukee’s fearsome starting rotation, one of the best in all of MLB, it was somehow Suter who led the team in wins on the season with 12. Now what’s not to appreciate about that?

Next. Milwaukee Brewers Dream 2022 Opening Day Lineup. dark

The Brewers will look to push their postseason streak to five seasons in 2022. Which underappreciated players might we possibly be looking back on if that happens?

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